SpaceX blasted a GPS satellite into orbit for Space Force — the second it's launched for the US military this year

SpaceX blasted a GPS satellite into orbit for Space Force — the second it's launched for the US military this year
SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk.REUTERS/Steve Nesius
  • SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, successfully launched a GPS III satellite on a Falcon 9 for the US Space Force on Thursday.
  • After the Falcon 9 peeled off from the satellite vehicle, the rocket booster landed on SpaceX's drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • This was SpaceX's second mission to launch a GPS III satellite for the US military this year.
  • The GPS III satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, is designed to give the US better GPS navigation capabilities, including improved jamming tech to prevent interference.

Elon Musk's aerospace company SpaceX successfully launched a GPS satellite for the US Space Force on Thursday, completing its second mission for the US military this year.

A brand new SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 6:24 pm EST, taking the GPS III-SV04 satellite into orbit.

A vehicle carrying the satellite separated from the rocket and was using onboard propulsion to climb to 12,550 miles above Earth, the satellite's manufacturer Lockheed Martin said.
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Nine minutes after launch, the rocket booster landed on SpaceX's drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You," positioned in the Atlantic Ocean.

Read more: SpaceX is on a stunning streak with Starlink, Elon Musk's plan to bathe Earth in high-speed internet. But the scheme isn't without big snags.

GPS III satellites, of which this is Lockheed Martin's fourth to head into orbit, are designed to give the US better GPS navigation capabilities, including improved jamming tech to prevent interference.
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SpaceX launched the first GPS III satellite in December 2018. The second GPS III launched on the final flight of United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Medium in August 2019, per Space.com.

SpaceX successfully launched the third satellite in June — meaning the latest launch marks its second for the US military this year.Elon Musk's space company has been ramping up its military contracts in the second half of 2020, securing three military contracts in as many months.
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In August, it won 40% of a billion-dollar agreement with the Department of Defense to launch new rockets for the Space Force.

Then in October it won a $149 million Pentagon contract to build missile-tracking satellites, on top of a deal to build a 7,500 mph rocket to deliver cargo and weapons for the US military.

Thursday's flight marked SpaceX's 20th mission of this year and the 97th Falcon 9 rocket to fly, per Space.com.
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